Graft: Khoka jailed for 13yrs
-- Tk 10 lakh fined for amassing wealth illegally
-- Tk 1 lakh for concealing info
-- Govt to confiscate illegally acquired Tk 10,05,021,832
-- Building at Gulshan, 3/4 of 133.59 acres of his land to be attached
-- A fugitive, Khoka now in US for treatment
-- Punishment to be effective from day of his arrest or surrender
-- Khoka dubs verdict ‘partial, politically motivated’
Sadeque Hossain Khoka, a BNP leader and former mayor of Dhaka, was jailed for 13 years in his absentia today for amassing wealth illegally and concealing information from the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Judge Abu Ahmed Jomadar of the Special Judge’s Court of Dhaka sentenced him to 10 years’ imprisonment for acquiring wealth illegally and three years’ for concealing information.
The court also fined the BNP vice-chairman Tk 10 lakh and Tk 1 lakh for amassing wealth illegally and concealing information in the wealth statement respectively.
In default, he will have to serve six months in jail for the first offence while one month for the second one.
While delivering the verdict, the court asked the government to confiscate Tk 10,05,021,832 and a building in Gulshan which he acquired illegally.
The government will also attach three-fourth of his 133.59 acres of immovable property, the court added.
Khoka, now staying in the USA for treatment, was earlier shown fugitive and the trial was held in his absence. The court on October 31 last year framed charges against Khoka in absentia.
The punishment of the fugitive will be effective from the day of his surrender or arrest, the judge said in his verdict.
The verdict was pronounced following cross-examination of 40 prosecution witnesses.
The ACC filed the corruption case on April 2, 2008 against Khoka, his wife Ishmat Ara, son Ishrak Hossain and daughter Sarika Sadeque for allegedly accumulating wealth worth over Tk 17.57 crore, which does not match his actual income, and concealing the information about his wealth.
The anti-graft body pressed charges against Khoka on July 2, 2008. But the IO dropped the names of Khoka's son and daughter from the charge sheet as their involvement was not proven in the investigation.
Following the charge sheet, Khoka challenged its legality with the HC. The HC then stayed the trial proceedings for a long time. But on May 20 of 2012, the HC vacated the stay order and ordered the lower court to continue the trial.
PARTIAL, POLITICALLY MOTIVATED: KHOKA
In reaction, Khoka alleged that the concerned court did give him enough opportunity for defense and awarded the verdict ‘partially and hurriedly’.
“I appealed to the court for time as I am staying in New York for treatment after taking bail from the High Court,” he told The Daily Star over phone today.
Terming the verdict “injustice” he said, “The verdict is politically motivated. It is intended to harass me and tarnish my political image.”
Khoka also said that he will appeal to the High Court after consulting with his lawyer.
Meanwhile, BNP spokesperson Asaduzzaman Ripon termed the verdict “politically motivated and injustice” while talking to journalists at party’s Naya Paltan headquarters in Dhaka.